What if we aim too low?


What if we aim too low?

Today three thoughts on that :

  • Seth Godin on the Icarus Deception
  • My own thoughts on what clients ask for most often from me
  • Marianne Williamson and my favourite quote

So, thoughts around “what if we aim too low?”

Seth Godin and the Icarus Deception

My favourite book by Seth. I wrote about it at length in: “your Comfort Zone is no longer safe..wait, what ?“. Before sharing Seth’s thoughts on flying too low, the second (and not told) part of Daedalus’ advice to Icarus, I started with my own thoughts:

“In the Icarus Deception, Seth Godin wrote about the idea that, in our incredibly fast-changing world, we make the mistake of relaxing and assuming that staying in our comfort zone overlaps nicely with playing it safe.

When I was growing up, the expectation was to study hard in our school education system designed for rote learning and making us a cog in the industrial era machine. We then go to a good college and get a good job with a respected large corporation and stay in that job until we retire at 65. Then, with a life expectancy of 70, we have five years to enjoy the fruits of our roughly 40 years of labour in that machine.

Gosh, sounds awful, but that was the life we were brought up to do.

The thing is, it isn’t even safe to do that anymore. School and University education are increasingly redundant as they can’t remotely keep up with the speed of change, then big corporations are increasingly sluggish at innovating and more and more people find the cultures there simply untenable to be a part of. Finally, assuming we do get that “good job”, we can commit ourselves for the long term only to find that the safety zone moves and the company itself becomes irrelevant and the jobs disappear.”

Don’t aim too low, or you will likely find what you felt was the “safe” choice won’t be.

What do clients ask for?

Linking to the thoughts above, when talking to potential new clients, as well as when beginning a client relationship, I always take time with them to get clear on their context, their driver for their choice to retain me as their sounding board?

Three of the most commons contexts are:

  • Challenge
  • Stretch
  • Growth

What might an overarching context be for that? I’d say it is “stretch”, as to grow as a person and in your career, you must challenge yourself.

There is no growth in the comfort zone, you must step out of the comfort zone to your stretch zone.

Some time ago I wrote a blog about one of my favourite athletes: “Elite lessons : Katie Ledecky (aka The GOAT)“. In that, I gave three tips for leaders looking to fully realise their potential. One was:

“Embrace the “Comfortable Uncomfortable. Tip : Beyond working hard, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Go beyond your comfort zone to the stretch zone”

If you are looking to stretch, one more piece of advice. Invest in a coach who specialises in supporting others reach their full potential.

Marianne Williamson

My favourite quote of all time is the following from Marianne Williamson. I simply highlight in bold the element that speaks to me most when asking ourselves (and for me, asking my clients) if we aim too low:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~ Marianne Williamson



Also published on Medium.

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